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BCC Ruling No. 98-05-610

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IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 24 (1) of the Building Code Act, 1992.

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article of Regulation 61, as amended by O. Reg. 400/91, 158/93, 160/93, 383/94, 20/95 and 395/96 (the "Ontario Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mr. Louis Lortie, Project Manager, Conseil des ecoles catholiques de langue francaise d'Ottawa-Carleton, 4000 Labelle Street, Gloucester, Ontario vs. Mr. Kaz Mosielski, Chief Building Official, City of Kanata, to det ermine whether the proposed egress distances, which slightly exceed 15 metres from certain classrooms, provide sufficiency of compliance with Article of the Ontario Building Code at Ecole elementaire Bridlewood, Stonehaven Drive, Kanata, Ontario.


Mr. Louis Lortie, Project Manager
Conseil des ecoles catholiques de langue francaise
Gloucester, Ontario


Mr. Kaz Mosielski
Chief Building Official
City of Kanata


Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Mr. Michael Steele
Mr. Ross Thomson


Toronto, Ontario


February 12, 1998


February 12, 1998


Mr. Louis Lortie
Project Manager
Gloucester, Ontario
The Applicant

Mr. Kaz Mosielski
Chief Building Official
City of Kanata
The Respondent


  1. The Applicant

Mr. Louis Lortie, Project Manager, Conseil des ecoles catholiques de langue francaise d'Ottawa-Carleton, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct an elementary school at Stonehaven Drive, Kanata, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant proposes to construct a one storey, 16 classroom elementary school with a building area of 4,080 m2. The building is to be constructed of noncombustible construction. It will be equipped with a sprinkler system and a fire alarm system. The total occupant load of the building is projected to be 627 persons. The building is described as having a Group A, Division 2 major occupancy.

The proposed layout of the structure shows that certain classrooms, specifically C01, C03, C04, C05, C09, C10, C11, C13 and L02, have egress distances slightly exceeding the maximum of 15 m allowed under the OBC. The proposed travel distance from the sub ject classrooms ranges from 15.9 m (C03) to 17.9 m (C13).

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the egress distances, which slightly exceed the 15 m allowed, in a building that is sprinklered, provide sufficiency of compliance with Article of the Ontario Building Code. Se ntence and Table 3.3.1.A. set out that for Group A occupancies the maximum distance to an egress doorway is 15 m.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Article Egress Facilities

(1) Every room and every suite shall have 2 egress doorways placed in such a manner that one doorway could provide egress from the room or suite as required in Article if the other doorway becomes inaccessible to the occupants due to a fire which might originate in the room or suite.

(a) where the area of the room or suite is more than 15 m2 (161 ft2) and (i) contains a high hazard industrial occupancy, or (ii) is a hazardous room,(b) which is intended for an occupant load of more than 60 persons, (c) where the area of a room or suite, or the distance measured from any point within the room or suite to the nearest egress doorway is more than the values shown in Table 3.3.1.A., or (d) where the room is hazardous classroom having an area more than 100 m2 (1080 ft2 ) and is in an elementary or secondary school.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the egress distances provide sufficiency of compliance because the excess travel distances are only marginal, ranging from 0.9 m to 2.9 m. They further argue that the pending 1997 version of the OBC relaxes the 15 m travel di stance standard to 25 m if the floor area is sprinklered. The Applicant notes that the proposed school will be sprinklered.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the proposed travel distances exceed those allowed in the current OBC. As they note, in the proposed school 9 of the 16 classrooms exceed the allowed travel distance of 15 m when measured along the natural travel path. Cons idering the building is to be used as an elementary school they were less willing to be flexible on the excess travel distances.

The municipality recognizes the future Code change, however, they indicate that approving applications on the basis of future OBC provisions is not within their jurisdiction.

The municipality also had some concerns regarding the method of measurement to calculate the travel distance. They requested clarification from the Commission on the best method of measurement.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed egress distance provides sufficiency of compliance with Article of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons

i) The travel distance is only marginally over the 15 m cited in the Table 3.3.1.A. of the 1990 Ontario Building Code when measured one foot from the perimeters walls and is in compliance when measured in a straight line from the most remote point.

ii) Proposed changes to the 1997 Ontario Building Code gazetted but not in effect at this time would increase the travel distance permitted in this application to 25 m for sprinklered buildings, and the building is sprinklered throughout.

Dated at Toronto this 12th day in the month of February in the year 1998 for application number 1997-80.

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Mr. Michael Steele

Mr. Ross Thomson